Spatial Thinking Workbook > Teaching Activities > Gestures for Miller Indices

Gestures for Miller Indices

Barb Dutrow (Louisiana State University), Kinnari Atit (Temple University), and Carol Ormand (SERC at Carleton College)
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Summary

In this exercise, students use one hand to gesture crystallographic axes and the other hand to represent planes designated by Miller Indices. This technique uses embodied learning to reinforce how Miller Indices are used to convey spatial information.

Learning Goals

At the conclusion of this exercise, students will be able to use gestures to communicate about crystallographic axes and Miller Indices.

Context for Use

This exercise follows a short lecture on axial ratios and Miller Indices and an assignment to determine Miller Indices of forms on wooden blocks, in an undergraduate Mineralogy course. It is intended to give students practice using Miller Indices to communicate about the orientations of crystal faces.

Description and Teaching Materials

In this exercise, students use one hand to gesture crystallographic axes and the other hand to represent planes designated by Miller Indices. This uses embodied learning to reinforce how Miller Indices are used to convey spatial information.

Student handout for Miller Indices gesture exercise (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 487kB Mar11 13)

Assessment

I walk around the room and verbally quiz students as they are doing the exercise to assess their understanding. Students should be able to relate Miller Indices to planes on a crystal.

References and Resources

Goldin-Meadow, Susan (2011). Learning Through Gesture. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, v. 2, n. 6, pp. 595–607.

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